One of the glories of the Catholic church is the ‘Communion of Saints’, who are our brothers and sisters in Christ now sharing the wonderful vision of God in eternity. Their prayers for us are invaluable. Every day this week we celebrate a different saint, some well-known and some rather obscure.
On Friday we praise God for a wonderful Lebanese saint and invoke his prayers for us. Sharbel Makhluf was born into a very poor Christian family in the hill country of Lebanon, and he worked as a shepherd in the wilderness. There he constructed a shrine to our Lady, where he was able to spend long hours in devoted prayer.
Eventually he became a monk and was ordained to the sacred priesthood. Later, inspired by the ancient teachings of the Desert Fathers, he decided to take up the life of a hermit, and so entered the hermitage of Saints Peter and Paul.
His whole life was inspired by his devotion to the sacrifice of the Mass, and after his death in 1898 his intercession was implored, and many miracles were attributed to him.
Pope Paul VI referred to St Sharbel as an admirable flower of sanctity blooming on the stem of the ancient monastic traditions of the East. Encouraged by the life of St Sharbel we pray for more vocations to the Sacred Priesthood and the Religious Life.